Friday, 21 October 2011

Language Garden: A Word Cloud Blog Challenge!

My very first Language Plant! My plant is surrounded by a Tuxpi flower ornament frame!

David Warr from the amazing Language Garden blog kindly encouraged me in a very convincing way, by the mere mention of kittens, to take the leap of faith, and play with the fantastic Language Garden Plant Maker tool, which he has created. This was for the Blog Challenge he has set up as follows:

"Well, stage 1 is here, and I’d like to propose a blog challenge. It’s simple enough: make your own word art – a language plant, a mind map or word cloud using the new language plant maker."

It took one simple tweet to get me to leap into the unknown and create a simple language plant. How could I resist David's challenge after the tweet below?? Within moments, I took up the challenge and tweeted back to David with the image of my handiwork.

I was thrilled when shortly afterwards David tweeted this very helpful alternative based on my original Abruzzo plant with the comment: "Sharing the adjective morphology endings". This indeed would be an excellent introduction to studying such adjective endings with students. It shows how creative you can be with different adjective endings.
Images / screenshots above and below reproduced from tweets sent by @DavidWarr.

I also received this lovely, beautiful plant on the theme of kittens.

A Message from Fluffy

All these fabulous creative examples prompted me to have another go, and this is the result. As you can see, I hadn't cleared all the little icons when I saved the language plant.

I found as with all new things, you need to practise and practise to get used to how a new tool functions. I viewed David's helpful video tutorial below and this helped me a lot.

I felt that I could do better than my first Test version, so I timed myself to see how long it would take to create a similar one, but with more colours and separating the words. I was much quicker the second time and I was able to move the words around more easily.

Here is my creation below. I am really thrilled with it!
However, I could see that the colours were a bit mixed, so I set out to try to change the colours and separate the "I love" into 2 blocks rather than one block. Here is my 3rd attempt, which took me an even shorter time to create. I could see that I was getting quicker and more able to manipulate the bends and sizes. The final letter of the word "weather" is a bit tilted, but I am sure practice will make perfect!!

I think this tool is a fabulous resource and leads to a lot of creative activities. You can get students to make up short poems, write short descriptions, play around with grammar items or teach each other simple phrases such as demonstrated in the blog challenge samples submitted by various bloggers in Language Garden. My verdict? It's a sure fire winner with students and teachers alike!!

One thing which would be good for the future is an "undo" button if you make a mistake or want to delete a word. I am sure that this will be possible in due course :-) For now, I believe it is an amazing tool which will make learning and teaching English much more fun! So many thanks to David for sharing this brilliant creation with everyone!

Why don't you have a go, and then share your language plant with David on his blog? He would be really happy, I am certain to add your creation in his beautiful Gallery.


David Warr said...

I am happier than a kitten with a ball of wool!
I love how you have described your journey, how each successive attempt prompted and tempted you to try something else and opened up new avenues to go down. Of course, for learners, they will be doing this in a second language, and exploring and pushing their limits.
I am purring with contentment.
Thank you for such a delightful read.

Janet Bianchini said...

My pleasure, David! I'm thrilled you are happy with this post.

Many thanks go to you for allowing us to use and experiment with your amazingly creative language plant site.

You're the cat's whiskers!!

Natasa said...

Thanks for letting me know about this tool, Janet. I like the way Language Garden lets you arrange the words any way you want. Very useful for teachers.

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Natasa

I'm really glad you have found this post useful. Look forward to seeing your creations when you have some time :-)

Warm wishes


Anne Hodgson said...

These are truly lovely, Janet :-) The way you did the wavy lines evokes the landscape you're in, no?

Janet Bianchini said...

Thank you, Anne! Yes, I guess the wavy lines do symbolise the rolling countryside near where I live :-)